Report reveals years of mismanagement in Cairo housing - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Report reveals years of mismanagement in Cairo housing

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CAIRO, Ill. -- A newly released report from HUD's Inspector General reveals the department didn't do enough to prevent the housing crisis in Cairo. 

The audit found HUD knew abut problems within the Alexander County Housing authority nearly a decade ago, but failed to act for years. Southern Illinois lawmakers call the findings embarrassing and say officials in HUD and the Alexander County Housing Authority need to be held accountable.

"HUD knew this was going on. This didn't happen overnight, this happened over years," said Senator Dale Fowler. 

The 23 page report by HUD's Inspector General gives a timeline of mismanagement within the housing authority. 

In 2010, 2013 and 2014, HUD reviews produced negative findings and worsening conditions but it wasn't until 2016 the department took over operations. Since then, more than 400 people were forced out of their homes due to deteriorating, unsafe conditions in Cairo's Elmwood and McBride complexes. 

The report says HUD "could and should have done more" to improve the worsening conditions. 

Congressman Mike Bost, whose district includes Cairo, says he'll be meeting with HUD secretary Ben Carson about the report, and what needs to be done to ensure a similar situation won't happen again. 

"This is so sad what they did to people and this is a case where we inherited this problem. Now we've got to try to make sure that we make it better and we got to make sure that it never happens in another place again," said U.S Rep. Bost. 

Fowler adds officials with HUD and the Alexander County Housing Authority need to held responsible for their actions or lack thereof. 

"There needs to be accountability for what's happened in the past, and the fact that it was left on deaf ears all this time is unacceptable," said Sen. Fowler. 

HUD is still investigating potential wrongdoing by officials in the Alexander County Housing Authority.  Three former officials have already been debarred from government programs for their actions. 

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